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Entries from March 2017

Sunday Stealing: The Kathy Aay Meme

Hey y'all! Link up here if you're playing along today, too!


Sunday Stealing: The Kathy Aay Questions

1. What is the meaning of your blog’s name?
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That picture was found when I Google Image-searched for my blog's name. Too funny. Anyway, my nickname is Smellyann, but we've covered that a billion times, right? I had a blog over 10 years ago on MySpace, remember that site? Not well, no, so I closed it down and restarted here. And that was that.

2. Why did you start your blogging?

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Given that we had family all around the country and since we'd moved around the world and back, I figured blogging would be one good way to keep all that far-flung family and of course our friends in touch. For the most part, my audience consisted of my mama-in-law and... not much else. And now that my MIL has passed away recently, well, I have a few followers but... not much else! haha!

3. What’s your usual bedtime?

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If it's before midnight, I'm still up. Unless we're out of any form of caffeine. And then I may not wake up at all.

4. Are you lazy?

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5. Do you miss anyone right now?


I'm missing my son.

6. How would you describe your fashion sense?

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So pretty much, if I'm comfortable, I wear it. I should get a full-length mirror.

7. What are your nicknames?

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Ummm... Smellyann. Unless you count Mom. But that's pretty ubiquitous.

8. Are you a patient person?

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I'm lazy and impatient, generally. It's a weird, ungodly combination. My husband, on the other hand, has the patience and work ethic of a saint. I love the guy, and not just for those reasons.

9. Are you tight-fisted or frivolous?

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I'm a combination of both. Are we buying more hex wrenches or more yarn?

10. What magazines do you read?

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I literally get about 60 free subscriptions of all different kinds. The only kind I don't get is porn, basically.

11. Are you stubborn?

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Potentially. What is this, the Paint a Crappy Portrait of Melanie Meme? ;P

12. When is your birthday?


No, I am not kidding.

13. What book are you currently reading?

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I've been "reading" this book for several weeks. I haven't really gotten past the Introduction. I'm just feeling hopeful that maybe I'll find it this week, let alone continue reading past the Intro. I mean, we didn't even bring more than a carload with us to Idaho, and yet it's missing. How does this happen?!

14. What phone do you have?

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I have a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, and I hated it until I figured out how to turn the Edge function off. That was a pain in my anus. Oh, and I'm on the second one. Can you say, "fragile"?? Bad. Idea.

15. Do you have any pets?

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We aren't quite this pet-full, but we do have our menagerie.

16. Do you have siblings?

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Stacey, on this page, is my older sister - by 17 months. I also have an older half-sister, Pamela, whom I've never met. I used to have two older step-sisters, too. Which makes me the annoying baby of the family, yes. Hubs is also the baby of his family.

17. Any children or grandchildren?

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These are my kiddos about 8 or 10 years ago... missing is Jack's twin brother, our wee angel babe.

18. What do you order at Starbucks?

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We used to have a bit of a Starbucks habit, but that only lasted until they changed the way their rewards program is set up. Now I go maybe once or twice a year, but when I do, I order a grande or venti Java Chip Frappuccino for me, and a Mocha Frap for the hubs. Or even just a hot coffee for him. He doesn't like it all doctored up and fancy. Drinks it black many days, even. The weird, it's strong with that one.

19. What did you do for your last birthday?

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Having a surprise birthday party has been on my Bucket List before I knew what a Bucket List was. I turned 40 last September. We didn't do anything memorable. Boo, hiss.

20. What’s your occupation?

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I'm a stay-at-homeschooling mum of two teens and a tween. Before I became too ill to do so, I also mystery shopped for more than 10 years, but I'm thinking of picking it back up again. I do the odd job here and there, too, but mostly Mum is my gig.

21. Do you live in the country or the city?

We just moved from the 'burbs of Miami to the city of Boise, Idaho. It's been 16 days of joy, every last one of them. Even today, when we got home from church and Jack let the dogs out of their kennels, and Tapi immediately farted splattery poop all over him. Well, maybe not so joyous for Jack... ;)


Thanks for stopping by!



Babies jack and robby

[[EXTREMELY LONG]] (cross-posted on the Book of Faces)

So, WOW. Fourteen years ago today, at 31 weeks, 3 days' gestation, I gave birth to my identical twin sons Robert "Robby" William and Jack River. Robby was born first, with APGAR scores of 0,0. (Rob was not with us in the operating room during the c-section, because he was busy taking Chloë to a babysitter so that he COULD be there. Apparently, my surgeon felt it could not wait for Rob to come back.)

Then Baby B, my little bunny rabbit Jacky Riverbottom, was born with APGAR scores of 0,4, if memory serves correctly. There was no crying when either boy was born. I had no one with me except extensive medical personnel, both on the OB/GYN side of things taking care of my ute, and two teams for the neonates introducing themselves to the world. So nobody cried, and the room was completely hushed, except for the sound of this mother crying out, "What's wrong? What's going on? Why aren't my babies crying? What is WRONG?" and being told, "Shh. The doctors are with them now."

Finally, after many long minutes that felt like 200 years, Jack let out a goat-like wail that would foretell of about two or three months of bleat-crying. I didn't mind it. I found it amusing. Funnier still, to me, during his 28 days in the NICU when one goat would wake up and start bleating, setting off all the other preemie-goats at all different pitches. I don't know whether it aggravated the nursing staff, but it was a welcome sound to me because it meant they were ALIVE.

On the other hand, Robby never cried. Ever. He never opened his eyes; he never looked at me, his mom, who had carried him for those seven months and laughed when he, definitely he, kicked the TV remote off of my enormous belly. The mom who, also a biologist, was exceedingly excited about watching my twins grow and change, sometimes in identical ways or maybe in mirror-image ways, and oh! The tricks they would play on me and on Rob and on Chloë!

But that would never happen. Instead, for three terrifying days, Robby had a tube down his throat, four tubes coming out of his chest - 2 on each side - because his lungs had popped holes that many times from all the fluid pressure resulting from Acute Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome. He lay naked on an open diaper that he never filled. The umbilicus was still attached throughout that time, so I'll never know if he was going to be an innie or an outie. I never got to squeeze his little tushy - yup, I'm one of those heiny-grabbin' moms. I never gave him a bath, put pajamas on him, fed him mashed peas, or any other wonderfully banal parental thing.

I never caught him red-handed in the cookie jar. I never got angry notes home from his schoolteacher about his behavior. I never saw him with my own eyes throw a snowball at my bedroom window when he was out playing with his sisters and twin brother. He never engaged in a war of "Quien es mas macho" with Jack or Sophia, a stronger child than her mother is. I never did any of those ridiculously mundane things with my older son that many, many moms and dads take completely for granted, every single day of their kids' lives.

Instead, for three days, my husband and I would wheel down the hall from my recovery room, where other babies nursed and cried, to the NICU. We'd have a quick peek at Jacky to make sure all was well, and all generally was well there. We quickly headed over to Robby's bedside, which was curtained off from the rest of the Level One infants, with notices that anything above a whisper were forbidden, because this particular child's oxygen levels would dip lower and lower.

I watched that O2 saturation score as though my OWN life, not my son's depended on it. I watch as two, three, four, five neonatologists came by with a squadron of interns and frowned, looked at his chart, looked at him, did some more frowning, and then nodded at me before heading over to the NICU's computers to do some expedient research on how to save this "wimpy white boy," as they are known among NICU personnel.

Late on Day Two, his primary physician came to us and told us about an experimental ventilation procedure that had helped patients much older than this one, but that it absolutely was not recommended for 31-week premature babies. If we would sign off on it, they would try it. It was his last chance.

Twelve hours into the procedure, Robby's O2 sats rose from the low-mid 70s (which is BAD) all the way up to the low-mid 90s! Which was incredible! We had prayed, prayed some more, and prayed so much they ran into each other so we couldn't have deciphered a beginning or an end to the prayers. Please, God, please. Just let our baby get well enough to BE. OURS.

A few hours later, the oxygen levels dropped again. First into the 80s, and the all the way to the high 70s. I could not take it anymore. I was exhausted, both physically from having birthed twin boys and from having incessantly pumped my milk for TWO children, and emotionally from the heart-wrenching drama of which we found ourselves the main characters.

So tired was I, and Rob, that in the beginning of this oxygen drop, a nurse suggested we take naps. We finally agreed to it. Rob started to leave, but I leaned in. I leaned close to my precious, desperately sick son, and whispered to him. Maybe I just mouthed it and thought the words, but I'm pretty sure I whispered them audibly in case he wasn't, you know, telepathic. "Robby. If you need to let go, it's okay. I know you're in pain. I want more than anything to be your Mommy and take you home, but if you just can't do this anymore, please please don't just stay here for us. We won't ever be angry with you. If you need to let go, let go. We will love you forever." And then I went to sleep down the hall in my hospital bed, having cried my prayers for a miracle that I KNEW God could provide, over and over until I lost consciousness.

The next thing I knew, almost exactly three days after Robby came into this world on March 22nd, 2003, at 12:21 PM, his primary doc was shaking my bed and me awake to talk to us. There were a lot of words, most of which I just remember the gist of, but I will never, ever, ever forget when he looked me in the eye and said, "The things we are doing to try to keep him alive are now hurting him. Continuing would do irreparable damage. His oxygen level is no longer compatible with human life."

No longer compatible with human life. That sunk in hard and fast. Rob and I looked at each other and nodded. One of us, doesn't matter whom, said, "It's time," and off we raced to the NICU with the doctor.

As Christians, we believe in Heaven and Christ our Savior, and we also believe that children (or anyone) should not be baptised until they are old enough to make the decision to do it for themselves, out of their own understanding of the meaning of the act. Nevertheless, this dear, sweet child, would not ever have that chance. We asked for the chaplain to baptize our baby, and we asked for the nurses to break protocol and not only stamp his footprints, but also his handprints, for us. Because every baby of mine gets a baby book, no matter how thin the contents.

We were ushered into a quiet "Do Not Disturb" room off to the side of the NICU and waited while all the many wires, tubes, and sensors were removed from our son's failing body.

A week before they were born, at 30 weeks' gestation, I was found to be in pre-term labor. An ultrasound was performed; the boys' growth was on target, and there was no significant difference in their sizes. That was on a Saturday; I was immediately admitted to the hospital's OB ICU. By Wednesday, I was transferred to a regular L&D room, on strict bedrest except to use the bathroom.

That same night, I asked for another ultrasound, because I felt pain where Baby A - Robby - was situated on my lower left. Heart monitors were placed around my belly, and all three of us were beating at appropriate rhythms. No ultrasound was done. Thursday, the pain increased, and I asked for an ultrasound in the morning again, and in the afternoon, I wanted to know when I was going for that ultrasound, because it really hurt no matter how I repositioned myself.

Friday morning came. I was in screaming pain in Robby's corner of the amniotic world, and still no ultrasound. By 4:45 PM that afternoon, I was frantically begging for an ultrasound. SOMETHING. ANYTHING, because I knew damned good and well that something was wrong. I knew.

Saturday morning, around 6 or 7 AM, I climbed carefully out of my hospital bed to pee. It took me about 20 minutes to get back into bed, I was so uncomfortably huge and in such terrible pain. No sooner did I get situated in my pillows and blankets, than I was suddenly sitting in a huge gush of fluid. Instantaneously, simultaneously, that stabbing, tearing, ripping pain in my abdomen abruptly stopped hurting at all.

Never was an ultrasound performed in those three days of begging.

The nurses thought I had wet the bed, but of course I knew better. They tested the fluid and, sure enough, my water had broken - but only on Robby's side. Jack's amniotic sac was still intact. There was nothing to do but deliver my boys via c-section, the same way big sister Chloë would be born, and the same way little sister Sophia would come to us.

For three days, from March 22nd, a deliriously unhappy day compared to what should have been a crazily happy one when my twins were born, to March 25th, when my Twin "A" was no longer capable of maintaining human vital signs, I kept a vigil by his bedside for every waking moment.

At last, he was disconnected from his life-sustaining equipment and dressed in ill-fitting but prized crocheted clothing, and brought to us in the Do Not Disturb quiet room. They handed our son to me. I held him as though cradling a healthy newborn; how else are you supposed to hold a premature infant, healthy or not? The chaplain who had baptised him came in unannounced, unrequested and, we agreed, pretty much unwanted. We needed privacy, just the son and the mom and the dad, but both of us were unable to demand it. And so we never got it.

At last, he was disconnected from his life-sustaining equipment and dressed in ills-fitting but prized crocheted clothing, and brought to us in the Do Not Disturb quiet room. They handed our son to me. I held him as though cradling a healthy newborn; how else are you supposed to hold a premature infant, healthy or not? The chaplain who had baptised him came in unannounced, unrequested and, we agreed, pretty much unwanted. We needed privacy, just the son and the mom and the dad, but both of us were unable to demand it. And so we never got it.

My OB, my high-risk maternal-fetal medicine specialist who was supposed to know ALL. The. Things. about TTTS but didn't, came in. He was, frankly, entirely too calm and dismissive about his role in this epic failure to save the twin boys whose mother, father, and sister, had been shipped from Guam back to the States in hopes of having exactly this kind of care for exactly this problem being a given. In reality, nothing was a given. His attitude, visiting us there in that quiet room, where I was still holding Robby, where the chaplain sat facing us in the most awkward way, and not in so many words, declared, "Oh well, shit happens, have a good life." And left. I blame him 110% for our son's death but did nothing about it, because we'd be fighting the whole DoD and, basically, the federal government. I didn't have the emotional fortitude to withstand that. I still don't.

It was difficult for me, but I let Rob hold our son while he was still alive. I couldn't resist having a peek at his tush, because tushies are cute and this was MY son, after all, but I didn't get to take him home. I didn't get to give him a sponge bath in a baby tub. I didn't get to sing all the songs that never soothed a crying Chloë Raine. I didn't get to play "guess the twin" even once, even with myself. I didn't get to see him skin his knee, lose his first tooth, have his first crush, measure him on the growth chart on the back of the door... The one thing I did get was visitation from his big sister before he died, so she did meet him.

My biggest, most fervent regret is that we did not get a picture of both boys together. Jack was not brought in to us. No twin pictures. Nothing. Nada. And I never will have one, save the double-peanut ultrasound photo I have from that first discovery in Guam, now faded from sun exposure.

And so. The time came, about an hour in, when a nurse checked his heart. Listen, listen, listen. And then she looked at me and gave a firm shake of her head, and that is how I learned that my son had just died in my arms. We were given about five minutes to cry gut-wrenching tears before they took him away. Now all I have of him are his ashes, because we chose cremation knowing that we would not always be there in Virginia to visit him if he were buried.

So forgive me, Jacky, and forgive me, any of you brave souls who made it this far, for feeling tugs of pain and memories of sadness, on what should be a fun-filled, joyous day for Jack. It's bittersweet. I have one son here who will be old enough to drive in six months, and another son who never even rode in a carseat with his mum and pop.

Those of you who grew up learning to swim in the tall ocean waves will understand this analogy: For three years, I felt as though the outgoing tide had swept me under water, and I was rolling and rolling, breathlessly, underwater with no ability to tell up from down or right from left. For three years, I was rolling underwater until, finally, I was pushed close enough to the shore and spit out by the incoming current. Spat out and sputtering, coughing, and realizing that I was finally, at last, safe on solid ground.

That day that I was released from my prison was my youngest child, Sophia Lorelei's, first birthday. She had been alive for one entire year, and Jack for three, before I became fully conscious and cognizant of the reality that I had three living children to raise. I was at a friend's house, with cake and ice cream and party hats and candles, and I had dressed baby Sophie in THE most abundantly adorable pink swirly dress. She had been walking since 7 months old, but at cake time, I went into the next room to gather her up, and she walked toward me from across the room. She had a giant smile on her face, that beautiful pink dress on, and there was no hint of precarious toddling in her walk. Sophia held her arms up to me, meaning, "carry me, Mommy," and I did. I woke up, then. The ocean spat me back out.

Six months later, after auditory and visual hallucinations persisted, medication after medication was tried with various disastrous results, and my behavior in general becoming increasingly and atrociously manic, I was diagnosed with Bipolar I - with Psychosis.

Last week, I visited a new psychiatrist in Boise for the first time. I gave her the abridged version of this story and my horribly abusive childhood, my mom dying at age 33, and so on and so forth. She concurred that BP I w/ P was the proper diagnosis... but I also saw her scribble down the word "schizophrenia" and circle it on her notes that she kept not at all hidden from me. So, hmm. Yay.

Anyway. Yes, it's JACK's birthday, and I'm gloriously happy to be his mom and be raising him and seeing him grow up into a fine, handsome, capable young man, despite all of the things that have tried to hold him back. However, having one twin living does not supplant the desire for both twins. They were never interchangeable. When I was pregnant, it was never, "well, as long as one lives, I'm good." Losing Robby was just as heartbreaking and terrible as if it had been a different pregnancy, at a different time altogether, from my carrying Jack. This death was preventable. I believe that. I understand that. I KNOW that. And #sorrynotsorry, but that fucking hurts like hell on Earth.

So to my son in heaven, whether you're still a 3-day-old neonate or a 14-year-old teenager, happy birthday. Whatever it is you're up to, be kind to your (now) two grandmothers who surely love to see you daily.


And to my son here in bodily form (I know you're in there!), Happy 14th birthday!! I love you, and no you are not driving the car until you're 14 and a half. And notice I said "car" and not "motorcycle," because over my dead body will you operate that kind of motor vehicle while you're living under my roof. I love you, though! ;)


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I know there'll be no more tears in heaven.

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Boise: Scenes From A Family Drive About Town


Today, Moday the First Day of SPRING! all five of us had reason to get in the car and drive around together. I'll get to the reason in a moment. I figured, since we were going to take a leisurely Sunday drive yesterday, which didn't come to pass, we could do a little bit of that today. And look! Not five minutes from our house, there is a Whole Paycheck Foods! YAY!


The sign made me giggle. So I snapped.


Rob likes this wall art and keeps wondering if someone has been caught trying to climb up the wall with it. Snap, snap.


I have nothing to say about this building on our left, other than I like how it's not just a box but rather different facades jutting out all over the place, thumbing its architectural nose at conforming.


We also live just minutes from the Boise Farmers Market! Yay yay yay! I love a good FM.


I don't know what this sculpture coming out of the sidewalk represents, but I thought it was pretty, pretty cool.


There are cool sculptures all over downtown Boise. I liked this leaf one, too.


World's Largest T-Rex Ever? Whaaat? Alive? I must investigate this.


There are ponds and rivers throughout Boise. One day we'll walk this one.


We'll be visiting this sometime soon too, I imagine. A pita filled with hummus, cucumbers, and sprouts? Yes please!


See that Idaho pizza sign? There are Idaho This and Idaho That signs everywhere. I don't know why I find this somewhat amusing.


Rob was all about the Car Wash with Free Vacuums. We gave our vacuum away in Miami, and or car could really use it right now! And our house. Think I could take it home?


Nothing to see here except... maybe... the mountains looming up in the distance!


See? Snow-covered peaks in the distance? Whee!


University of Idaho is here. Also Idaho State, and a handful of others. Wanna educate yourself? Boise seems to be the place in Idaho to go.


A Trader Joe's in town near us, too?! I've died and gone to grocery shopping heaven.


Today was free ice cream cone day at Dairy Queen, so of course we had to partake of that funness! Okay, so... this may or may not be the second DQ we hit up for ice cream. #IllNeverTell...


More mountains!


Chloe is wanting to do some volunteer work at a vet clinic soon, so maybe we can get here in here. It's just down the road from us.


That diner looks promising, no? For late night eats, maybe?


And food trucks! I love food trucks!


I didn't get a good shot, but that building is the Idaho Angler, the Fly Fishing Paradise or something. Rob will be there within the month, gawking and gazing, I gar-ohn-tee!


Don't look at the car dealership. Look beyond. See what it says?? "Brewer's Haven" and below that, "Cheese Making Supplies"

Say what, now? We had to go in and investigate.


And what's this I see on the sign's obverse? Oh yeah. Guess where we'll be on Wednesday evening? :D


All kinds of new and interesting beers were found in the cooler when we first entered. I was never a beer person until this last year or two. I've done a 180.


And BINGO! Cheese, Butter, & Yogurt Making? I must buy this book. And it's only $3.95!


Cheese making kits! I gotta get one eventually. These run about $25-30 and can be used for many different batches. Woot!


So here's where I should've been when I was making art with bottle caps. Duh. Why didn't I think of that?!


Even more beers in the cooler on the other side of the store. Whoa. Lots of sampling shall be done in future.


Bins upon bins upon bins of all the sorts of things a microbrewer might need.




Make Beer Not War. Yassss.


I'm all about Buying Local, y'all. So these will be the first we eventually sample. Mm-hmm.


Cute little bottle cozies. Frivolous, but ...cute.


And finally, heading home on Vista Ave, which is the area in which we live.

And finally, a couple of snaps from Miami of Sophia with her BFF, Helaina:


They traded necklaces and had their bittersweet goodbyes, but Sophia has called and Skyped with her friend a few times since we arrived in Boise. Hopefully she makes some good new friends soon.



Sundays In My City: Our New Home In Boise, Idaho

Unknown Mami
Hey, guys! I'd like to show you a little more of our new adventures in Boise, but since it was raining today and we couldn't drive around and get ourselves lost today after church like I planned, that will have to wait for next week's SIMC, I suppose. 
Unknown Mami
Thanks to Claudya, aka the Unknown Mami, for hosting this fun weekly round-up! So let's get started here, shall we?
The drive from Miami to Boise was more like a sprint, but once we got up into the mountains and approached our new home, the views were welcoming and exciting. We see these mountains almost everywhere we go in Boise!
I never knew I was a mountain person until I started living in the mountains. I mean, it's beautiful. We've only been here 9 days, but I still get excited with every glimpse I get of them!
Rob took this picture of our first approach into Boise. Excitement building here!
Here are our kids and two dogs, playing in the backyard for the first time. They do this EVERY DAY, and I love that. Tapioca, our bigger doggo (the Chiweenie), gets the zoomies when she's outside with the kids, and it's pretty fargin' hilarious to watch. And so I encourage it.
Our landlady told me that the best - and least expensive - grocery shopping was at WinCo Foods, so I took her up on the suggestion. It was a "wow" moment! So huge and so... interesting at every turn. I didn't expect that. Nor did I expect all the craft beers I found everywhere in the cooler section. I just had to take a picture of this Voodoo Ranger carton. 

Speaking of craft beers, there is a microbrewery supplies store just down the road from us. I wouldn't mind Rob trying his hand at it, but they ALSO have cheese-making supplies! Squeee! I have that on my Bucket List, so I will be visiting there soon!
Right now, we don't have any furniture yet, so our bedroom is literally nothing but the dogs and their toys. And by "their toys," I really mean Tapi's. Can you see Paco, our tiny Chihuahua, snuggled up there in the background?
One of the first things we did was hang up the Polynesian mask Rob and I bought in Guam 14 years ago, in the Chamorro Village down by the capital city of Tumon. The mask is a "good devil," or so we were told, whose purpose is to ward off the evil spirits in your home and around you. So front and center, it goes.
Oh, what's this? No furniture?! Poo. A very lovely lady gave us this kitchen table and five chairs, so now at least we have a place to sit and eat. And compute. I'm sitting there right now, actually.
The same kind lady gave us a dresser for Chloe's room, about which she was extremely excited. Don't mind her hair. That crazy mop took daaaaays to fix after our long drive in the car.
Another cool thing, if you like trains, is the track right outside our backyard. Jack goes running everytime he hears that engineer's horn hooonk hooonk hooonking in the distance. 
I like it, too. Doesn't bother me a bit. Tapioca gets a little barky sometimes, but it's not too bad.
Here's my little sunshine girl, Chloe, whose hair has much improved since those days in the car!
That section of our backyard doesn't look so great right now, but Rob is already trying to grow potatoes there! I hope he's successful, because potatoes. YUM.
I attempted to get a picture of the mountain view from our backyard, but alas, it's not so great. The trees wouldn't move out of the way no matter how politely I asked.
This is the view from our front door. We live on a cozy little cul-de-sac and have met several of our neighbors. In the blue house across the way, there's Gladys the Neighborhood Watch Captain, who baked and brought us some delicious cookies that Chloe described as tasting like pancakes with syrup. Next to her, a little boy named Brady lives with his mom (and dad? I don't know yet), Ashley. Jack has made friends with Brady. Next door, our neighbors were equally welcoming, and Jack has made friends with Layton and his younger brother, whose name we forget. Anyway, all this to say: We love it in this neighborhood!
In our front yard, there is a rose bush! I can't wait to see what flowers bloom there later this year. I hope they're not pink, but I'll be delighted with them no matter what, I'm sure.
And lastly, but not leastly, here is our unassuming little house. It has a wheelchair ramp for the gentleman who lived here before us, but it's convenient for schlepping in all kinds of things from the car! There's a little garden to the left front, but it's only just starting to show. All in all, it's a darling little house, and we absolutely adore living here.
So that's it for now. Next week, hopefully, I'll have much more of the environs to show you!
Thanks again, Unknown Mami, for the linkup!

Sunday Stealing: The TV Show Meme

Hey, hey there. Link up here if you're playing along with the rest of us thieves today! ;)

We found this gem off a blogger called Christina from Call Me Patsy She states that she lifted the meme that "she's seen everyone doing". Not us however, until today. It was probably stolen by the author of that blog, as well. But that is as far as we go. Tracing back our theft's thieves might take some time. Please "like" us on Facebook!

 Cheers to all us thieves!


Sunday Stealing: The TV Shows Questions

1. Name a TV show series in which you have seen every episode at least twice:

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Friends, for sure!

2. Name a show you can't miss:

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That would be Jeopardy!, or as Hubs and I like to call it, "Shouting at the TV."

3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to watch a show:

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Parker Posey. I just love her. She's hilarious.

4. Name an actor who would make you less likely to watch a show:

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I couldn't think of anyone but Sam Kinnison, who of course is no longer alive, so...

5. Name a show you can, and do, quote from:

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Hubs and I are both known to do this to each other and to our kids, when their doors are closed. Does that count? (From The Big Bang Theory)

6. Name a show you like that no one else enjoys:

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Well, I don't watch much TV so it's hard for me to pick one, but I do know that nooooobody likes Caillou! Ugh. Hate that kid. :P

7. Name a TV show to which you've been known to sing the theme song:

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I love belting out the theme song to The Golden Girls! Nobody but me appreciates this.

8. Name a show you would recommend everyone to watch:

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Dudes. I don't watch a lot of TV, but I told you that story and we'll be all right. I do think everyone should watch Jeopardy! Not just for the knowledge and learning that can be gained from it, but for the eventual appearance of yours truly. I mean, it's on my Bucket List, so I have to do it, right?!

9. Name a TV series you own:

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I don't own any TV series, but I do own the one episode, "Dark Dreams" of Destination America's A Haunting, on which my daughter appeared.

10. Name an actor who launched his/her entertainment career in another medium, but has surprised you with his/her acting chops in television:

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Will Smith, formerly known as "The Fresh Prince" before the screens small and silver came a-callin', impresses me.

11. What is your favorite episode of your favorite series?

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Every episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm is my favorite, pretty much, and Larry David is my boyfriend.

12. Name a show you keep meaning to watch, but you just haven't gotten around to yet:

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This is obviously going back a few years, but Hubs and I binge-watched the first three or four seasons of Dexter, but then we fell off and forgot to keep watching it. I don't even know if the whole thing is still available on Netflix.

13. Ever quit watching a show because it was so bad?

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Every talk show - except Ellen - and soap opera ever. I used to watch that garbaggio with my sisters, but I hated it then and I have no interest now.

14. Name a show that's made you cry multiple times:

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I don't watch it anymore, nor do I know whether it's still on, but Grey's Anatomy was one of those shows for me.

15. What do you eat when you watch TV?

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I eat whatever, or nothing. I'm not consistent enough to answer this question.

16. How often do you watch TV?

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Not often. Once again, we don't have TV service in our new home in Boise, but that was an accident. Hubs brought our TV with us but packed the power cord in our household goods, which we don't yet have! So I have to order a new one on Amazon... it's about $6 or $7, I guess. 

17. What's the last TV show you watched?

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I watched That 70s Show when I was in the hospital with bout five (in a year) of pneumonia, just before we raced across the great US of A!

18. What's your favorite/preferred genre of TV?

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I'm all about the sitcoms. I'm a sitcom whore. For realz, though.

19. What was the first TV show you were obsessed with?

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When I was a little girl, my sister and I tried never to miss The Dukes of Hazzard. Loved it!

20. What TV show do you wish you never watched?

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That damned brat Caillou!!! lol

21. What's the weirdest show you enjoyed?

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I used to get a kick out of American Gladiators.

22. What TV show scared you the most?

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I don't like scary shows or movies, but when I was much younger and my sister watched HBO's Tales From the Crypt, it used to scare me a bit.

23. What is the funniest TV show you have ever watched?

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I don't know, but I usually get a good belly laugh or seven out of Family Guy.


Welp, that was fun! Thanks for stopping by, y'all! Thanks for another great meme, Bud!


Our 4-Day Sprint Across The Country #MiamiToIdaho

So this journey started with Rob being busy selling off all our furniture that wouldn't fit in the U-Haul U-Boxes that we had rented and filled to the brim with all our household belongings... while I was stuck in the hospital with my fifth bout of pneumonia in a year.

The highlight of my three-day sojourn in Homestead Hospital was the fresh fruit I received every day, particularly the strawberries. Hey, you have to find your happiness somewhere!

Last Tuesday morning, March 7th, I had to take one last hibiscus picture by which I could remember my beloved South Florida. 

Bye, Caribbean Isles! Bye, Oasis! Bye, Homestead, and Miami, and Florida! Awaaaaay we went!

Florida is such a looong state to drive, so it was with great joy we finally crossed into Georgia! From citrus to peach country.

Onward we went: Me driving; Rob in the passenger seat holding our pups Tapioca and Paco; each child holding a cat on his or her lap, plus either a gerbil or a guinea pig; and one more cat in the back area, packed in with boxes but not in such a way that a fast rescue wouldn't be possible, should the need unhappily arise. We were packed to the gills both inside and out, and with seven pets in travel carriers, we were in a race against time to get to Idaho!

Tapi and Pacqui waiting for Daddy to come back from a rest stop

Everyone was uncomfortable. We had so much STUFF - cold weather gear, kids' school backpacks, kitchen stuff, blankets and sleeping bags - one of which met its demise when it fell off our car before we'd even gotten out of Homestead - purses, camera bag, pet supplies, and oh, my gosh, SO much homeschooling stuff. We fit more than I imagined we would, due to careful packing of the cabin and roof a la Tetris. Oh yeah, and three suitcases full of clothes and towels.

To say we were squished would have been an understatement!

We stopped somewhere in Tennessee for the first night, and it was quite chilly compared to the balmy subtropical weather we'd left behind in Miami. Chloe was SUPER excited to be needing her coat and gloves. She's been wanting colder weather with snow and all the fun it brings for four long years.

In the morning, the doggos were all over me to get started during a gas fill-up. They, too, were eager to get out of our enclosed, rolling box.

After we left Tennessee, we eventually hit Missouri after going through Kentucky and Illinois, and it was there that I hit my breaking point. Rob was driving, well, like Rob. I was exhausted, the pets were miserable, and the girls' and my ankles were starting to swell badly. I had two pairs of compression socks, so Chloe and I wore them while we all did our best to walk around as much and as frequently as time allowed. We were supposed to go see Rob's brother and my friend in Missouri, but in the end we had to bow out of both visits for the pets' and kids' sakes. It just wasn't fair to them to stop and prolong the agony! We caught quite a bit of heat for that, but we did the best thing for our family at the time. So.

After we got started again on Day 3, we drove through Kansas for what seemed like eleventy billion hours. It was dreadfully boring to drive through, at least in the wintertime. There was nothing but empty, dried up fields and wind farm after wind farm. I have to admit, those were pretty cool. But the vast emptiness made for little to look at after awhile, and we were all just... bored, I guess. And needing gas. And a restroom. And we found neither for-freakin'-ever!

Finally, finally!!! We found this gas station with a restroom inside. Look how old-timey it was! Hee! Inside, there were taxidermied bobcats, foxes, deer, and more. They charged a dollar to use the restroom - pffft! - and in the back by that area, there were three elderly men drinking and playing poker. It was quite the experience. Definitely a change from Miami!

The view across the street from the old-timey station of gas

Figures. Not even one mile past that gas station, we rounded a bend and found a rest stop. Can you even?! I cannot. There was a real working water pump there, the mechanics of which Jack, naturally, had to check out before we got back on the road again.

Finally, after another long stretch of Kansas roadage, we made it to Colorado. Yay! Now, the super-fun part of the trip was at hand!

Contented little pupper-doggos on Daddy's lap

Not long into Colorado, we stopped at a local mom 'n' pop grocery store in Limon to get some lunchous foods. Not wanting to get yogurt and chocolate milk spilled in the van, we decided to have a quick picnic somewhere. Five minutes later, we found this empty park. Perfect! Everyone was thrilled to get out and stretch their legs, have a bite to eat, and even have a little fun in the process.

Once we were back on the road again in Colorado, heading toward Denver, the open road seemed much more thrilling than it had in Kansas. We just couldn't wait to see mountains - and if you look reaaaaallly carefully and closely in the distance, you can start to see them here!

There they were, off in the distance, against the background of the Great Plains where we still were. Beautiful, breathtaking, and awesome!

The higher we climbed into the mountains, the closer the clouds came to feeling like we could just reach out and touch them. It was pretty incredible.

We climbed higher and higher, ears popping and plugging all the way, around the city of Denver and headed into Wyoming. Rob needed to stop for a moment on the side of the road, so I grabbed this picture of the buttes as we ascended even further. This was near Green River, Wyoming.

Coming through the mountains and buttes in Wyoming, we saw purple mountains! that inspired Rob and I to burst almost in unison into song: "America the Beautiful" of course was the tune. Later in Wyoming, we stopped yet again at a rest stop called Little America. If you've ever been to Wyoming, I'm sure you've heard of it if not stopped there. That was a pretty amazing place. We stopped for potty breaks for everyone next to this pretty white birch just as the kids finished up singing Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" because they were so excited to be seeing SNOW!

And yes, oh yes, we stopped for those 75-cent ice cream cones for the kids, who were nuts and wanted to eat ice cream when they were already old. Crazy knuckleheads!

That night, we stopped to rest right in the mountains after I had to pull over and throw up - not even kidding - from the altitude change I was feeling. We were used to 3' above sea level and suddenly found ourselves 2500' or more above sea level, and it really messed with my ears and head. Rob tried to drive a little, but the winds were 40 MPH or greater and our top-heavy van was being whipped around. No fun. And so, we slept until I could continue the drive on Friday, Day Four.

After a bit more driving in Wyoming, we headed into Utah. Last state before Idaho! And what a relief it was!

And finally, after Utah, at last we made it into Idaho!! Woohoo!! We all cheered and were in good spirits by then. This was the happiest we had been on the trip, with everyone talking and shouting excitedly at once.

A little longer, and we were finally at our new home in Boise, Idaho! And we loved it right away. The backyard is pretty big, which is great. The kids are loving that, and so are the doggos. Especially Tapioca, who tears around at breakneck speed among all the kids. 

Our new landlord met us shortly thereafter, and she immediately jumped out of her car and ran to hug all of us, before she opened the back of her car and brought in groceries for us. So nice! Everyone here in Idaho is lovely, and we can see trains and the mountains from our backyard, and... it's just great. We all really love it here. It feels like HOME.

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Alone Again (Naturally)

Hey everyone! Glad to be back to Sat9, from here in Idaho. Let's go!


Saturday 9: Along Again, Naturally (1971)

Not familiar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1. Friday was St. Patrick's Day, March 17th! Did you celebrate with green beer or a green milkshake?

I wish! Someone should bring me one. Yasss. Because we're too poor following our cross-country move now!

2. Did you remember to wear green?

If the green in my U-Miami shirt counts, then sure.

3.  What color do you look best in?

Black or, my signature color, RED!

4. This week's featured artist, Gilbert O'Sullivan, was born in Waterford, Ireland. Waterford is famous for Waterford Crystal. Do you have glassware that you save for special occasions?

Yes, our stemware that my BFF gave us for a wedding present is our "special occasion" stuff. 

5. This week's featured song includes the line, "To think that only yesterday I was cheerful, bright and gay." How were you feeling yesterday?

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I'm having a fun time exploring Boise, Idaho, where we now live, and a neighbor named Gladys brought us some delicious cookies! That made everyone happy. 

6. It begins with reference to a wedding that didn't quite come off because the bride left the groom at the altar. When were you most recently at church? Was it for a holiday service, a regularly scheduled service, a special event (a wedding or baptism)?

It's been a while. Too long. Hopefully we'll be fully ensconced in a new church home by Easter Sunday!

7. In 1971, when this song was popular, Malibu Barbie was a big seller for Mattel. This doll had a perpetual tan. For a human to achieve this, a tanning bed or self tanner is usually required. Have you used either method to give yourself a tan?

Not me! I know better than that. I'm pale white and burn easily. Self tanner makes people look too orange in my opinion, so I don't use that either.

8. In March, 1971, James Taylor appeared on the cover of TIME magazine. What's your favorite James Taylor song?

 "You've Got a Friend"

9. Random Question: What word or phrase do you hear yourself saying too often?
"Guys! Focus on your work!" when we homeschool.


Thanks so much for joining us again at Saturday: 9. As always, feel free to come back, see who has participated and comment on their posts. In fact sometimes, if you want to read & comment on everyone's responses, you might want to check back again tomorrow. But it is not a rule. We haven’t any rules here. Join us on next Saturday for another version of Saturday: 9, "Just A Silly Meme on a Saturday!" Enjoy your weekend!


Product Review: Wrist Society Watch

Hey, everyone! Remember me? We completed our move from Miami, Florida to Boise, Idaho one week ago, so that's why I have been largely absent from posting here lately.


Anyway, I was chosen by Wrist Society to try out one of their watches in exchange for my honest review.

Wrist society watch 1

This is the watch and bracelet I received. It's a beautiful watch with a bracelet, which you can get as part of Wrist Society's monthly subscription service. I was going to do a YouTube unboxing video, but between having severe pneumonia and moving, I just did not get a chance! Boo. 

But that's not the watch's fault, so let's carry on, shall we? ;)

Wrist Society is a service that aims to help men grow their watch collection. Featured on Huffington Post, Better Homes and Gardens and more, men can subscribe to the Noble level for $29 per month and receive a  top-notch wristwatch that they keep. Or, they can subscribe to the Elite level for $39 per month and receive a watch plus a bracelet picked by the Wrist Society staffers. The watches never have to be returned, so it's a great way to add to your style wardrobe, receive a high-quality watch, and not pay top dollar.

Rob's wrist wasn't available during this review, so I wore the watch for a few days and even received a few compliments on the watch and bracelet set I received. In addition to the bracelet and beautiful watch each month, Elite members can also vote on occasional choices during their subscription service.

The great thing, I think, about Wrist Society is that they are so flexible. Instead of monthly delivery, you can also choose quarterly, biannual, or annual delivery.  If you join the Society, you can even order the previous month's watch if quantities allow and you really can't wait!

The watches ship on the 1st of each month, and are great way for guys to add the perfect finishing touch to their style for the day. All kinds of styles are delivered, once per month, so that as the collection grows, they can have may choices from which to cap off their days' outfits. I love this! There is no entry fee, just the $29 or $39 monthly charge, and all of the watches work and are high quality.


So there you have it! Subscribe if you like the concept, and stay because you love the watches.


DiamondBloggers and Wrist Society selected me to try out the watch service in exchange for my always-honest opinions. 

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Magic

I feel like I haven't blogged in ages, thanks to our move to Idaho (we're leaving in 3.5 days!), but I needed to post something - anything - tonight. Here we are! Link up HERE if you're playing along today.


Saturday 9: Magic (1980)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This 1980 video depicts Olivia Newton-John as a performer in small club. For the past few years, she's been performing regularly at the Flamingo in Las Vegas. Have you ever been to Las Vegas?

I went a long time ago once, in December 1998 I believe, with a long-ago friend. We're no longer on good terms and so that's all I want to think about that!

2) Many tourists who want to get away from the glitz of Vegas travel less than 20 miles to visit Red Rock Canyon. This national park is known for its hiking trails, which provide a view of the desert flora and red rock peaks. Tell us about a time you were impressed by natural beauty.

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My phone photos of the moon never turn out well, but one thing I will miss about living in Miami is seeing the moon or the sun shine against the tallest palm trees. I try to witness and take the time for noticing the beauty of the world in every opportunity, but maybe that's more a function of my naive nature than an intentional act...

3) One of the best-reviewed restaurants in Las Vegas is Andiamo Italian Steak House. When you order a steak, how do you request it be cooked: rare, medium rare, medium, medium well or well done?

I can't really answer this now, because I haven't had a steak since early in 1995, but when I did eat it back in the day I liked it so rare it was nearly mooing!

4) Olivia Newton-John's father was an officer in MI5, the UK's secret service. Sam's most recent encounter with the law didn't have much drama or intrigue: she asked a cop for directions to the highway. Tell us about the last time you spoke to an officer of the law.

Despite my attempts to quit, I am still addicted to Diet Coke, so I see the same cluster of local officers several times a week among my multiple hops into either Racetrac or 7-11. Funny, though, I never learned any of their names.

5) ONJ was awarded the OBE -- Order of the British Empire -- by Queen Elizabeth in honor of her contributions to the arts. Here's your opportunity to boast. What is something you've done lately that you received praise for?

Not myself, since pretty much all I've done lately is sit in the middle, of this chaotic apartment life directing traffic, but my younger daughter Sophia. She hadn't ridden a horse since her Lacey bucked her off and she landed with a broken wrist last July 1st. Last night, Hubs took her for her final ride on Lacey before we leave town, and she did so well (I hear)! Her instructor told me she was "Amazing!!!" and did better than anyone expected with no problems. Sophie couldn't stop grinning and hugging me when she got back from the farm.  She half-whispered to me, "Mom, I still remembered what to do." I can't wait to get her installed at a farm in Idaho to pick back up her showjumping skills!

6) A breast cancer survivor, Olivia helped found a cancer center in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia. When you think of Australia, what comes to mind?

Visiting Australia is my Number One Bucket List item, so I think of many things: diving the Great Barrier Reef (if any is left by the time I get to go), the Sydney Opera House, the Outback, marsupials and... this is stupid... Crocodile Dundee! haha! ;)

7) "Magic" was one of the top-selling records of 1980. Also that year, Post-It notes debuted. Do you enjoy shopping for office supplies, or do you consider it a chore?

Goodess, gracious me! I love shopping for office and school supplies so much, I got a little tingle of excitement just answering this question! I'm a complete nerd, because I get a real charge about using a brand-new pen or pencil, opening a fresh pack of paper, using a new binder with dividers and labels... what's not to love?

8) In 1980, the NASA space probe returned the first photos of Saturn back to earth. Do you believe intelligent life forms from other planets are  trying to learn more about us?

I'm firmly in the I'll-Believe-It-When-I-See-It camp, but of course I do believe Earth is not the only planet capable of having intelligent life forms in the universe.whether they're trying to learn about Team Earth or not is a different matter altogether, one I'd decide by observation instead of hypothesizing.

 9) Random question: Are you more confident in your looks or your intelligence?

I'm not very confident in either! I feel like whatever I had in the past is rapidly disappearing since I turned 40 last September. It's probably psychological, but it I feel like my wrinkles are having wrinkles, and I don't mean in a good, cerebral way! Rob and I have talked about the possibility of my having the start of what will turn out to be some form of dementia, actually. It's scary knowing or even thinking that. As for my looks, eh. Every year past age 33 is Bonus Round time for me, so I don't care too much about aging. That's a total lie; I'm as van as Snow White's stepmother!


I'm going to close abruptly since Hubs' laptop keeps shutting down in the middle of this post. Thanks for stopping by!! Sayonara, in case I don't get a chance to post for a while..!